OKC Thunder: Reggie Jackson wants to start, Thunder is non-committal

For the team, it might be better to keep Jackson coming off the bench. Get him 30 minutes a night, give the second-unit a primary playmaker and then keep him out there with the starters in crunch time. But that’s looking more and more like a harder sell to Jackson.
by Anthony Slater Modified: June 2, 2014 at 9:17 pm •  Published: June 2, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) shoots a lay up in between San Antonio's Tiago Splitter (22) , Manu Ginobili (20) and San Antonio's Patty Mills (8) during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) shoots a lay up in between San Antonio's Tiago Splitter (22) , Manu Ginobili (20) and San Antonio's Patty Mills (8) during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

But the Thunder already has a guy running the show. Name of Russell Westbrook, arguably the best point guard in the league.

“That’s what everybody keeps saying,” Jackson quipped.

An understandable mindset for a guy who has shown enough ability to be considered a solid NBA starter. But some surprising comments, considering the organization he plays for and the contract situation he’s currently up against.

This offseason, Jackson is eligible for an extension for the first time.

“Hopefully we’ll sit down and figure things out,” Jackson said.

It’s the James Harden summer, as some could infamously recall, the offseason in which he was shipped from OKC because he couldn’t see eye-to-eye with the organization about an extension.

But despite the somewhat similar on-court situations — Jackson is now filling Harden’s bench role – the business side of things is drastically different.

As a restricted free agent following next season, Jackson will have plenty of potential suitors. But he won’t command near a max deal, which Harden got in Houston. So he falls a lot closer to the Thunder’s price range.

Plus, this time around, OKC will be more financially flexible. When Jackson’s extension would take effect, Kendrick Perkins’ $9 million deal will be coming off the books, Serge Ibaka’s contract will remain flat and, as has been reported recently, the NBA’s luxury tax is expected to be elevated.

So Jackson can either sign an extension with the Thunder or ink an offer sheet elsewhere next offseason. But if he did, the Thunder would likely match. And he’d remain in OKC, where it remains highly possible he’s still coming off the bench.

He says he wants to be here. But he also says he wants to be a starter. Those two might not go hand in hand.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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